All Saints, Nov. 1, 2015

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Title:All Saints, Nov. 1, 2015

 All Saints, Nov. 1 2015  (full size gallery)

There is nothing like All Saints with a baptism! As the sermon said "Today we welcome Scarlett Joy, the youngest member of our congregation, into the worldwide, one, holy and apostolic church through the sacrament of Holy Baptism that Christians everywhere know as a passage into new life in Jesus Christ." Congratulations go out both to the newly baptized and for the congregation to support her

The day begin with a drizzle with moderate temperatures. The sycamores have begun to turn in earnest.

"Weaving God’s Promises" at 10am focused on a Bible quiz to be followed by one on the Prayer Book.

We celebrated the baptism at 11am of Scarlett Joy Long. As part of the service we dedicated a new Paschal Candle. Elizabeth’s family was present for the baptism along with the Long family. We had 49 at the service.

After the service we went over to the Long home for our first of the month coffee hour. Alex and Nancy prepared a feast – beef, salmon and vegetable burgers, home grown salad along with wonderful mash potatoes, bread and a white cake in celebration of the baptized

The sermon used the twin metaphors of tears and flames. Tears – "Tears flow through all of scripture."  The readings are here. The bulletin is here.

1. "Remembering the time the Israelites spent in exile in Babylon, the psalmist wrote “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, and there we wept when we remembered Zion.”

2. "And suffering alone, and yet knowing that God hears, the psalmist prays, “Every night I flood my bed with tears—I drench my couch with weeping and God hears—You have kept count of my tossings—and put my tears in a bottle.”

3. "In today’s gospel reading, Jesus comes to Bethany and finds Mary weeping, and all of those with her weeping because her brother Lazarus has died.

"We have done our share of weeping over the past year. We have lost people beloved to us, people who have shown us hints of what the reign of God must be.

"And today, All Saints’ Day, we remember them—and our sorrow and our tears are part of that. The scriptures appointed for today remind us, though, that our tears, our sadness and sorrow are not the end of the story—just as death is not only a grave, but a gate through which we pass with Jesus into our joyful resurrections.

"How fitting, then, that today, All Saints’ Day, is one of the Sundays that The Book of Common Prayer holds up as a day most fitting for the Sacrament of Baptism…And baptismal water also reminds us, at some primal level, of our tears—Our own tears of deep sorrow, the tears that accompany death. In the waters of baptism our tears of sorrow are gathered together and turned into life giving tears because this baptismal water reminds us that in spite of sorrows, we live in hope.

"Both Isaiah and John tell us—God himself will wipe every tear from all faces, from their eyes—And God will wipe away OUR tears as well.

"When you look at a flame up close, the hottest part of the flame is blue—the color of water, the color of melancholy and sorrow—and also the color of heaven.

"God takes our tears and turns them into light…so that we may show forth the light and the flame of God’s glory in this world."

Forward Movement contributed these ideas for All Saints:

"Today, we glimpse a new earth, the feast to which all are invited, when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. What a beautiful, powerful image. It reminds us that some things must end for a new thing to start.

"We all experience endings. The hard part for us is letting go of the old dead things. It is hard to let go of dreams about where we thought we would be at certain points in our lives—jobs we might have had, risks we might have taken or shied away from, happy endings we might have imagined. But we know that in order to embrace something new, something better, we have to let the endings be what they are and step into the new with joy and awe."

Commentary by Lance Ousley, Canon Diocese of Olympia

"Stewardship is a commitment. It is a commitment to God and the understanding that God is sovereign over all Creation, humanity and otherwise. It is a commitment to living this understanding out in our daily lives with who we are and what we have.

"For All Saints, and borrowing from Isaac Newton, we stand on the faith of those who have come before us and see farther into God’s commitment to us. The saints on whose shoulders we stand today were committed to pass on their faith in the God who is revealed in the Wisdom of Solomon, Isaiah, Revelation and the raising of Lazarus. This is a faith in God who is committed to redeem us even beyond the grave. We stand on the shoulders of these saints because they have stewarded their lives and resources to pass on this truth to us. The generations that follow us rely on our commitment to pass on our faith to them in this God that never leaves us, wipes away our tears and sets a feast for us even beyond death. This is the God who has revealed the divine commitment by choosing to dwell among us as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ.

"This is the faith that has been passed on to us from generation to generation by the saints who have come before us. These are the saints that committed to love the Lord our God with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their mind, and with all their strength, and in doing so, loved their neighbors as themselves. This was their commitment to God and to us, stewarding the faith that had been giving to them.

"What will the generations to come see as they stand upon our shoulders? What will be our commitment to God and those who come after us? How will we steward the blessings of faith, even beyond the grave?"


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